LEE-ANN Kirby said she gave up on earning a recall to the West Indies Women’s cricket team after being overlooked for 12 years, but the support of her mother kept her motivated. Kirby was selected for the 2020 International Cricket Council Women’s T20 World Cup, starting next month.
The tournament will be played in Australia from February 21 to March 8. Ten teams will compete in the tournament with five teams in each group. West Indies will play the opening match in Group B against Thailand in a group that also features England, South Africa, and Pakistan.
Kirby, known mostly for her power hitting, played four One Day Internationals and two T20s way back in 2008. Kirby, 32, in an interview with Newsday, said, “It was a great feeling getting called up on the West Indies team, getting called back to the camp after performing in the Courts T20 (Grand Slam tournament)...it was just hard work from there. I made up my mind to work hard in the (two and a half weeks) camp and perform well in the practice games.”
Kirby was not counting on a return to the team, but with support and strong performances, the selectors took notice.
“Honestly, I had already give up mentally, but my mom kept motivating me and saying it was always her dream to see me on TV playing. As I said mentally it had me down, but I just kept performing locally and in the regional tournaments.”
The right-handed batter said other people also encouraged her to keep working. “Who worked with me was Kelvin Williams the national coach, I got support from some of my team-mates and family members also. It was just really for me to put in the hard work because they believed in me and they kept saying I deserved to be there.”
Kirby does not want to be known just as a power hitter on the team but wants to keep the middle of the batting order steady.
West Indies, who won the World Women’s T20 title in 2016 in India, has struggled for consistency recently but Kirby thinks the team can be competitive in Australia.
“Honestly I think that with the group that we have we stand a good chance reaching to the finals again this year.”
Kirby, who is glad to see the fast bowling pair of Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman fit again, also learnt a lot from fit again Deandra Dottin at the camp in Antigua. Kirby said, “Working along with Dottin for the past weeks (has been great), she always keep motivating me, batting wise giving me little tips and steps how to do certain things, seeing her back there on the team is a big motivation after coming back from this injury because she really put in the work and she is coming along pretty well.”
Dottin, one of the most destructive batters in the women’s game, was sidelined for a year because of a shoulder injury.